6 June 2024

The Thai Parliament Channel’s Facebook page is usually moderated and quite formal, as they report activities in and related to parliament, including those of MPs, senators and officials.

On Wednesday, however, they raised eyebrows by explaining the meaning of increasingly popular Thai idiom “Som Lon”, or windfall.

The phase was used by a Move Forward MP when referring to prime minister Srettha Thavisin, who he described as a “Som Lon PM” during the second day of debate on the government’s policy statement in the parliament.

That triggered protests and a heated exchange of words between the MP and his Pheu Thai colleagues. The MP later agreed to retract his statement.

The channel wrote that, as the phrase was used during a parliament session, the page’s administrator felt the need to explain its meaning. “Som Lon”, the channel said, means one has won or acquired something easily, without having to work for it.

Move Forward supporters, of course, believe that the premiership should have gone to their party’s leader, Pita Limjaroenrat, as the party won the most House seats in the May general election.

After Pita failed to get enough votes in parliament to become prime minister, however, Pheu Thai replaced Move Forward at the core of a coalition and successfully had its prime ministerial candidate, Srettha, endorsed by parliament.

Srettha was not necessarily their first choice though, considering that Paetongtarn, the youngest daughter of Thaksin Shinawatra, was one of their three candidates. That is why Srettha becoming the 30th prime minister of Thailand is considered by some a “windfall”.

The channel’s posting has already drawn 136 comments, 98 shares and more likes than previous postings, which usually get no more than five likes and comments.

A netizen, possibly sarcastically, commented “Good work and thank you, admin Ong”.

“Ong” is the nickname of the first Deputy House spokesman, Padipat Suntiphada of the Move Forward party, who are now arch rivals of Pheu Thai. The comment received many likes.